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My Photography Evolution | Tina Case Photography

November 03, 2015  •  Leave a Comment

Warning - Prepare to cover your ears and butter your eye rolls with the loud name-dropping coming up:

At last count I have photographed 10 of the Forbes “Midas Touch” 100.  I have photographed Oscar winner Eddie Redmayne, Oscar nominee Amy Breslin, actor Alex Pettyfer, and famous filmmakers including Casey Neistat and Gore Verbinski.  Oh and there’s Buster Posey and Ryan Vogelsong of the San Francisco Giants. In addition to that array of incredible people I freelance for the San Francisco Chronicle.  I had the amazing task of photographing six of the top ten chefs for their 2015 Top 100 Restaurant Guide including Suzette Gresham, one of the few female Michelin rated chefs, and Tyler Florence, of the Wayfare Tavern and star of FoodNetwork.  And yes, I get to eat what I shoot.

top100restaurants Chef Tyler FlorenceSF Top 100 Restaurant Guide | Tina Case PhotographyChef Tyler Florence gets ready to demonstrate his famous fried chicken. Burlingame, California at Riggs Distributing, Inc., Friday March 27, 2015.

This year I was named the first photographer-in-residence for the Montalvo Arts Center. My task is to profile many of the Fellows for the Lucas Artist Program. I am in my third year as the principle photographer for the City of Palo Alto’s Children’s Theatre.  Contrast that to eight years ago when I was analyzing data in a corporate cubicle. Then a serendipitous thing happened.  I took a leap of faith and said, ‘later’ to my life in high tech. 

Lucas FellowsActors Nathaniel Justiniano and Ava Roy, Lucas Artists-in-ResidenceLucas Fellows Nathaniel Justiniano and Ava Roy, Fellows at the Lucas Artist Program, Villa Montalvo.

I underscore that I stepped into this journey in Act II of my life.  I was a ‘rudder-less’ twenty-something.  I had no direction in life. I loved to draw, paint and create so I figured I’d be an art teacher.  After graduating those plans went "poof" when my mom showed me an ad to become a Pan Am flight attendant.  That was the first major pivot in my journey.

My boyfriend at the time didn’t relish how much I was gone.  After a flight to Africa I handed in my wings, went back to my rudderless boat, hit the books a second time and got a BS in computer science. It was a sensible direction.  I labored my way up the corporate ladder.

Gradually the voice to my heart started getting louder.  I started letting go of things that weren’t working, including my first husband, Mr. X.  

Eddie Redmane, PC Tina Case PhotographyOscar winning actor Eddie Redmayne being interviewed during press junket.Oscar winning actor Eddie Redmayne being interviewed during press junket. Once I started listening to my gut things fell into place. I met Mr. Right.  We quickly became a family of five with the addition of three daughters.  Raising them led me back to my roots. In late 2007 I took a leap, quit my corporate job and took off on my journey to rediscover my passions as a kid. Mr. Right suggested photography as a way to combine my artistic and technical background.  In 2009 I picked up my first DSLR, a Canon Rebel TS with a 18-55mm kit lens.  I was hooked.

I can clearly point out my five big breaks: 

Peek a booOne fun photo can lead to many more.This series of photos led to being hired with several top Silicon Valley Venture firms.

Major photography moment #1. During a birthday event I photographed the guests including a young mother with two happy-go-lucky daughters. She hired me to take photos of her daughter’s birthday and loved those images so much she asked if I would be interested in photographing an event for a top Silicon Valley Venture Firm.  That connection led to working with their distinguished partners and other Silicon Valley venture firms. 

Stage photography | Tina Case PhotographyPalo Alto Children's TheatreFrom "Seussical the Musical" performed at the Palo Alto Children's Theatre.

Major photography moment #2. When I started out I would create a photo project to hone my skills.  One year I did some volunteer work at a local theater.  A single head shot of a young actor lead to his mom contacting me for an interview to be the principle photographer for the City of Palo Alto’s Children’s Theatre.  I’m in my third year and love working with that youthful energy.  Year round I provide head shots, PR, dress tech and archival photos.  By the way, that young actor?  He was selected to participate in a Broadway Lab of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s “The School of Rock.”

Food Photography | Tina Case PhotographyFood photos led to freelance work at the SF ChronicleFood photos led to freelance work at the SF Chronicle

Major photography moment #3 & #4. Acme Party Box hired me for their catalog and website.  One of those photos was discovered by the SF Chronicle and asked to be used in a July 4th picnic article.  While talking to the editor at the Chronicle she noticed my website and portfolio.  Fortunately I had just updated it with food photos I took (also due to a referral) for a client starting a food company called CookApp. Next thing I knew I signed on to be a San Francisco Chronicle freelance photographer.  I had the amazing job of photographing six chefs who were profiled for their 2015 Top 100 Restaurant guide.  Yes, it was a yummy experience.

Viral photo of Koa and the BunniesKoa and the BunniesThis photo appears in several books and magazines and websites.

Major photography moment #5.  While this is the fifth bullet it is my most cherished moment.  On Easter Sunday 2011 my golden retriever, Koa, was chasing lizards in our backyard.  One of them landed on a soft pillow of tan bark which uncovered a nest of bunnies.  A photo I posted of Koa and the Bunnies took off on Flickr like crazy. That photo went on to appear in several books, magazines and articles all over the world.  Koa has certainly earned her keep.

All of these breaks were the result of a single photo or pivotal referral.  Doing great work for one client can lead to incredible moments in your photography journey.  It’s important to listen to your heart — let that be what resonates in your life’s journey.  It’s what I continue to teach my daughters by example. 

This post was inspired by light.co, an innovative camera company designing the world's first multi-aperture computational camera.  Their new camera company hopes to help photographers combine their artistic and technical skills to reach their goals, just like my first DSLR supported me.

Pretty in PinkPretty in Pink Cotton CandySweet Joy | Tina Case Photography


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